If you prefer to meet in person, we can meet with you in our local Southern California area. Alternatively, we can schedule a Google video call or Skype session. We are in the Inland Empire, directly serving the communities and vicinities around: Riverside, Moreno Valley, San Bernardino, Alta Loma, Ontario, Chino, Redlands, Hemet, San Jacinto, Colton, Grand Terrace, Corona, Norco, Banning, Beaumont, Palm Springs, Perris, Menifee, Murrieta, Temecula, Lake Elsinore, and Canyon Lake.
Ordering and paying directly (rather than through a third party) always saves money! We do accept cash, check, most credit cards, and PayPal.
We have many pre-made one-of-a-kind ContenderWear custom costumes in our stores: www.contenderwear.com/shop & www.etsy.com/shop/ContenderWear
About Our Founder
Lona came to the US from Denmark. She grew up surrounded by artistic and craftsy relatives, who painted, sewed, knitted, crocheted, tatted, and drew.
When she first moved out on her own, Lona was sponsored in pageants by several sponsors and eventually was a runner up in the Miss California/Miss USA pageant. While in pageants she began to do a bit of modeling and TV commercials. She was pursued by the fabulous Nina Blanchard in 1979. It was during Lona’s pageant and modeling days that her affinity for fashion and style really flourished.
When Lona met her future husband, he gave her a Kenmore sewing machine, and the fun began with Christmas crafts, soon followed by home décor with the purchase of their first home. A few years later, she was sewing baby layettes, toddler clothing, and Halloween costumes. Halloween costumes evolved into period costumes for History classes (on a whole different level) that her son was enrolled in, which required them to act out historical events. At that same time, her daughter became more involved with dance, eventually joining team.
Dance competition costumes were required; dance wear was required…stuff that made you stand out at conventions was required. High School jackets needed to be embroidered; a new sewing/embroidery machine was in order for these tasks, and an overlock machine was needed to better create stretch garments after being recruited by yet another group. If you can sew, you become very popular and busy with dance groups!
Well the dancer daughter Tracy went to college, and Lona thought she would be pretty much out of the dance costume sewing business, but Tracy began teaching dance again. Early in 2013, one of the studios that Tracy worked for was closing their doors permanently, and they would not have a staged recital. Tracy’s dance students had been working so hard on their routine, and Tracy wouldn’t have it that they just did not have an appropriate costume, something special to wear. What was needed was an inexpensive solution to what would be their final performance at this studio, and with that, HotMess Dance Apparel™ was born.
That same year, Tracy and her beau Nick opened their own dance studio. A new brand name would be needed for high-end, competition costumes: ContenderWear by Lona Smith™, which has evolved to ContenderWear™.
Lona used nothing but the finest products to dress her dancer when she competed, and she will use nothing less for YOUR DANCER.
The brands have been expanded to include LiturgyWear™ for praise dance and NuptialWear™ for blinged out bridal goods.
During very busy times and for rush orders, sewists Lona and Nance both sew and create items for their unique-costume-seeking customers, so that they can be delivered on time.